With the start of the shortened 2020-2021 American Hockey league season approaching, the New Jersey Devils announced their affiliate will not be playing in Binghamton this season.

The Binghamton Devils will be playing at New Jersey’s practice facility in Newark. They are one of four AHL teams that are relocating for just this season while 3 teams have opted out of playing this season entirely. The other New York teams will be returning to play at their home arenas including Utica, Syracuse and Rochester. 

Binghamton Devils Executive Vice President of Operations Tom Mitchell says it was a decision that they have been discussing for a couple months. He says the main reasons it was made is that there is already ice down at the Newark facility and they have COVID-19 testing in place there. With the Devils AHL team going through the same protocols as their affiliate at the same facilities it eliminates the 7 day quarantine period for players called up to the NHL. 

With no fans allowed at games this season regardless, Mitchell says it would have been a financial nightmare playing in Binghamton. Looking at all the factors at play he says it’s a decision that makes sense. 

“Not having all the answers is stressful,” says Mitchell. “I know what this team means to this community, I know what it means to this building and the American Hockey League. As always I’m going to do the best i can do to make sure we get back to some kind of normalcy.”

Mitchell assures fans that with the Devils having another season on their agreement with Binghamton after this one, that there has been no indication that they won’t be back. He says it’s a partnership that works for both sides.  

“Makes a lot of sense to the American Hockey League and frankly any NHL team in the Northeast to have a team in Binghamton,” says Mitchell. “It’s important to Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Wilkes-Barre, Hershey, Lehigh Valley, all these teams around us we’re pretty central. I think it’s important for us to remember that and the league certainly understands that.”

The AHL will begin its 24 game season on February 5th with the 28 participating teams in 5 realigned divisions. More information on that can be found here.